Merry Everything (Alt. Title: How I Came to Love Christmas More Than Anyone You've Ever Met)
Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals.
Growing up, I loved Christmas as much as the next kid. Presents. Unlimited access to desserts. Running around with my cousins, staying up way too late. What was there NOT to like?
As I got older, I still loved the holidays, but never really appreciated the season for anything more than a chance to get some cash money (said a la Wilmer V on MTV's iconic Yo Momma!) and some time off from school.
But then I moved to LA. I was 21 when I got the offer for a job that would keep me, a Long Island girl who always planned on working and living in NYC and yet randomly took an internship in LA despite never having been to California before, on the west coast for the foreseeable future. I was excited. I was scared. And I was broke as a joke, which meant I would not be traveling home for the holidays after spending all of my money moving into a two-bedroom/two-bathroom apartment in WeHo, steps away from the best gay bars.
At 22, I ended up spending Christmas alone in my apartment, watching Christmas TV episodes (back when DVD box-sets were objects to be treasured and displayed with great pride), hanging with the Cohens on The O.C. and the Winchesters on Supernatural. Chinese food may or may not have been on the menu.
It's easy to romanticize that scene now, six years (and two places) later, pretending it was a rom-com moment, but the truth was, it was lonely. So, so lonely. For the first time, I truly understood what the holidays were about: spending time with the people you love. Just because it's cheesy doesn't mean it's not true.
Since that solo Christmas, I've become that obnoxious person who fawns over twinkle lights and once cried when the fake snow started at The Grove. The person who will never back down from a Christmas cookie party and records every single Hallmark Channel Christmas movie.
I love Christmas and everything it entails, but I know it's not the same for everyone. It can be a sad time, a lonely time, a challenging time. So however you are spending the holiday, I hope you can find a glimmer of happiness or hope, even in something mundane, like your favorite coffee or sending a message to an old friend. Because to me, that's what Christmas is ultimately about: throwing some metaphorical twinkle lights on something to make it a bit magical for a little while.
These days, I'll take any whimsy I can get, even if it's fleeting, which makes it even more special.